What is a featherboard?
Featherboards are essential tools for woodworkers. They are used to prevent wood dust from flying around during cutting operations.
Featherboards come in various sizes and shapes. The most common ones are rectangular or square-shaped. They usually measure between 4 and 6 feet long and 2 inches wide.
Featherboards are designed to protect workers from injury. They are typically made of plastic or metal and should be placed at least 3 feet away from the blade.
Featherboards are flat pieces of plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) that are attached to the front of a table saw blade. The purpose of featherboards is to deflect the cuttings away from the operator and into a collection area.
Featherboards are essential tools for anyone who uses a table saw. In addition to keeping the operator safe, they also help reduce the amount of dust produced by the machine. If you are looking for a new featherboard, then you should consider some important features before buying.
How to make a featherboard for a table saw
Cut the 3mm plywood into two parts lengthwise. Then cut one part into three equal parts along its width.
Cut the 1×4 pinewood into four equal parts along its width and then cut each part into two equal parts along with its thickness.
Make a groove on the top surface of the middle piece of the 3mm plywood using a router bit
Glue the top surfaces of the two parts of the 1×4 pine boards together
Place the glued parts of the 1×6 pine boards onto the middle piece of the plywood.
Drill holes through the middle piece of the 1×6 boards and the middle piece of the Plyw
Sand the edges of the featherboard.
Use the nail gun to attach the bottom edge of the featherboard to the base.
Attach the other side of the featherboard to finish the body of the featherboards.
Attach the blade guard to the feather board.
Use the featherboard as desired.
Remove the featherboard from the table saw.
Clean up the dust.
Enjoy your new featherboard.
Make the runner for the miter slot
The miter slot on my table saw is 3/4″ wide by just over 3/8″ deep. The piece of oak I ripped from the scrap board I had salvaged off of some old furniture was too large to fit in the slot, so I had to cut it down to size.
The overall length is 18″, but it will get trimmed to approximately 12″ once the holes are drilled and the slot is cut. Leaving it longer for the time being just makes it easier to work with, especially when cutting the slots down the middle.
Materials needed for making runner:
- 1/2″-Thick Oak
- 1/2″ Screws
- Hole Saws
- Tape Measure
Steps for making a runner:
- Measure the distance between the center of the miter slot and the outermost edge of the miter slot. This measurement is going to determine how much material needs to be removed.
- Measure the distance from the outermost edge of this slot to where you want the end of the runner to be. This is the length of the runner itself.
- Mark these measurements on the oak. You can use a pencil if you wish, but I prefer to mark them with a pen because it’s more precise than a pencil.
- Using a power jigsaw or hand saw, remove the excess material from the oak. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but try not to leave any sharp corners.
- When you’re done removing the material, flip the piece over so that the marks face up.
- Using a drill press, drill holes at the marked locations.
- Thread a small screw into each hole.
- Screw the runner into place.
- Repeat steps 4-8 until the entire length of the runner has been completed.
- Trim the ends of the runner to a nice straight line.
- Use the screwdriver to tighten the screws.
Assemble and start ripping
- To begin assembly, first, insert the taper head screws through the countersunk hole in the runner and then slip it into the mitered slot.
- Then, slide the plywood under the runner, aligning it with the edge of the miter box.
- Next, clamp the runner to the table saw using the clamps.
- Now, take the rip fence and set it to 6″. Now, adjust the height of the fence to bring the blade to the height you desire.
- With the blade raised, slowly lower the fence towards the bed.
- When the blade hits the surface of the wood, stop lowering the fence.
- Once the blade is fully inserted into the wood, raise the table saw bench vise handle all the way.
- Slowly lower the fence until the blade is completely in the wood.
- Raise the fence again, slowly, until the blade is flush with the top surface of the wood.
- Finally, turn the blade around and repeat the process on the other side.
- After that, simply attach the guide plate to the underside of the runner, as shown below.
- And there you have it! Your new featherboard is ready to go.
How to Use a Featherboard With a Table Saw?
A featherboard is an accessory that allows you to work on the table saw without having to get off your stool. It’s one of those things that people either love or hate, but once they try it out for themselves, they usually end up loving it!
Featherboards is MDF or plywood ok to use to make one?
You can use MDF or plywood, but the thickness will determine how much deflection you’ll get. For example, 1/4″ thick plywood won’t give you nearly the same amount of deflection as 3/4″ thick MDF.
Can I put a feather board on my planer?
Yes, you can. Just follow the instructions above, but instead of attaching the runner to the table, attach it to the planer.
What is the difference between a feather board and a dado stack?
A feather board is basically a piece of metal that attaches to the front of the blade. A dado stack is a device that fits inside the throat of the blade. Both devices allow you to cut dados (grooves), rabbets, and other cuts. They both accomplish the same thing – deflect the waste material away from the user. However, unlike a feather board, a dado stack requires the user to remove the blade entirely from the machine.
Why would someone want to use a feather board rather than a dado stack?
There are several reasons. First, a feather board allows the user to continue making cuts after the blade has been removed from the table saw. Second, a feather board is less expensive. Third, a feather board is easier to install and remove. Fourth, a feather board doesn’t require any additional tools. Finally, a feather board is better for woodworking projects because it allows you to cut larger projects without getting in the way of the blade.
Is a featherboard safe to use?
Absolutely! In fact, many people prefer using them over a dado stack because they feel safer. A dado stack can cause serious injury if it falls onto the user. But a featherboard is designed specifically to protect the user.
Does a featherboard increase the risk of kickback?
No, it actually decreases the risk of kickback. That’s because the featherboard adds weight to the blade. As the blade moves toward the workpiece, the added weight causes the blade to rotate slightly forward. This prevents the blade from kicking back towards the user.
Do I have to use a feather board with every table saw?
No. If your table saw isn’t equipped with one, then there’s no reason to buy one. But if your table saw comes with one, then you should definitely consider buying one.
I’m really happy with how well this worked out. It took me about an hour to build it, including measuring, marking, drilling, and assembling. And the results were worth every minute.
This project should work equally well with either plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). If you don’t have access to either of those materials, though, you could always just buy one.